Bordeaux is close to indescribable. Obviously I am going to do my best to do what I said is nearly impossible to do but I know that I won’t be able to accurately reflect what I felt when I was there.
I went to Bordeaux because one, the weather is WAY nicer there than in Paris and two, I had a few friends from UCSB and one from Nice that are studying there this semester. Alex, my friend who I lived with in Nice said I could crash on her futon so needless to say I was going. When else am I going to get three nights for free in Bordeaux? Plus when am I going to be able to spend time with my friends who I don’t get to see very often in a foreign city?
I got into the train station around 1:15PM on Saturday. Alex and her French boyfriend Charlie picked me up and we headed straight to the beach. I had to change in the car when we got there but it was ok. The only uncomfortable part was the fact that the bathing suit I brought was completely useless. I had lost so much weight since I bought it that even by synching up the straps as far as they would go, if I tried to do the hula, they would be around my ankles. But it didn’t really matter. I was just excited to be back in my sandals after seven months of close toed shoes.
We spent a few hours at the beach, laying out and napping. Charlie and Alex went into the water a few times, but seeing as how my bathing suit would have probably floated away if I tried, I decided to stay and watch all of our stuff. I actually have a tan line! (To be fair it started as a small little burn, but now it’s a nice bronze-ish color). When we got back to Bordeaux (the beach we went to was about forty-five minutes by car) we went back to Alex’s to change, shower and then it was off to dinner. They took me to this really good pizza place where they apparently had their first date. Then after dinner, we took the tram over to the river and tried to get some ice cream. Unfortunately it was too late and the ice cream place was closed, but it was fine. That pizza filled me up. It was about midnight when we got home so we said by to Charlie and went to bed.
Day two in Bordeaux was not as pretty as day one. I met up with my friend Trang who was my neighbor in San Raf last year. I met her at Hotel de Ville and we went over to a market on the river. She had some of her friends with her and like every other travel experience I have had, everyone was super nice. We went over to Trang’s house and made lunch and did homework. I actually did more work in Bordeaux for my French Geopolitics class than I have done in Paris. I was over at her house for about nine hours. Alex was at Charlie’s doing homework and she had her keys, but if Trang minded me being there, she didn’t let me know. In fact it was fun because that night her friend Tim came over and we all kind of hung out and did homework together. I met up with Alex around 11PM and while she was finishing up her paper she was working on, I watched the Blind Side. (Side note: I just want to meet and be friends Sandra Bullock)
Day three was a little bit better than day two weather wise. I went out to lunch with Alex and Charlie and then headed up to meet Trang and my other friend from UCSB (who was at UC Paris last semester) Kellyn. Kellyn also sang in the girls acapella group at SB. The three of us went to go print out some pictures for one of their projects they had to do in a photography class. Kellyn and Trang both had a lot of work to do and I felt bad about taking up all of Trang’s time yesterday so I headed off to the Jardin Publique where I walked around and took pictures. Alex also gave me her keys so I could go and come as I pleased which was super convenient. That evening I went over to Trang’s again to do some work. I also brought over my hard drive and gave her a bunch of movies I had. She in return, gave me the first four seasons of Madmen. In less than twenty four hours, I watched all season one.
Today was kind of a make-sure-you-did-everything-you-wanted-to-do kind of day. Pretty much all I did was wander around in the nice weather and then go into the Cathedral. The Cathedral was the Cathedral St. André or St. Andrew’s Cathedral. It was my Cathedral. I have been feeling kind of strange lately.
*I need to say that from this point on, the blog was written about a month after I coming back from Bordeaux.
I sort of remember what I was feeling, but a lot has happened since being in Bordeaux and now. I’ll do my best to remember what I was saying. I think I was feeling kind of sad that my exchange was coming to the end and I hadn’t really had the exact experience I wanted. Seeing my friend in Bordeaux making all these friends and then Alex with her French boyfriend kind of brought home all of these expectations I had for my experience in France that would never happen. It kind of brought home the fact that I had unfulfilled… to call them dreams would be an over statement, so I guess I’ll have to settle for desire.
Anyway, after I checked out the cathedral, I came back to Alex’s house and we hung out until it was time for me to go to the train. We sat around and watched some Mad Men and an episode of Glee. Then Alex walked me to the bus stop where I hopped on and got to the train station. I thought it was weird that on the TV screen in the train station it said that the train was leaving there but it didn’t say what platform.
When traveling by train you don’t need to be there much in advance of your train departing because there isn’t the same kind of security (or really any security) that you have to go through. I got there about fifteen minutes before the train was scheduled to depart. I sat around waiting for them to put the platform number for about ten minutes. Thank god I heard a woman ask about it, because with five minutes they still hadn’t put it up. I asked the same man and he told me where to go. I got on with about two minutes to spare.
I made it back to Paris and all was well. I have to say having been to Brodeaux, I know that kind of lifestyle would have been much more my taste, but doing it over, I still think I would choose Paris. School is shitty, EAP didn’t help me find housing (or do anything for me…) but I would still do Paris.